When Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Bodh Gaya on Saturday, the small Buddhist town had turned into a fortress for a day, following tight security for the prime minister’s visit.
Before leaving for this famous Buddhist place, PM Modi had tweeted, “Will join ‘Samvad’- Global Hindu-Buddhist Initiative in Bodh Gaya. Looking forward to interacting with Buddhist saints, scholars & delegates. I consider this Hindu Buddhist conference on conflict avoidance and environmental consciousness an important event.”
Modi visited an exhibition called ‘Chetiya Carika, the pilgrimage and quest for truth, at Mahabodhi Temple and also offered prayers at Holy Bo Tree (the Mahabodhi Tree).
While there, he made announcements for the development of Bodh Gaya. He said that he was only the third prime minister after “Pandit Nehru and Atal Ji,’ to have had the honour of ‘coming here.’
Later, he also tweeted a photo offering prayers on the micro-blogging site.
Some glimpses from Mahabodhi Temple. Feeling very blessed. pic.twitter.com/VF8oBml7EN
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 5, 2015
He was also given a tour of this historic venue, where the PM discussed the town’s ‘glorious history’ and how beautifully the place had preserved it.
Recognising this aspect, he said, “We in India would like to develop Bodh Gaya as a spiritual capital and a civilizational bond with other nations. We are meeting in Bodh Gaya, a land that has distinctive place in history of mankind. I would call India a ‘Buddhist India.’
The Global Hindu Buddhist initiative on Conflict Avoidance and Environment Consciousness was also held in New Delhi. Organising a similar conference in Bodh gaya, PM said, “It is a matter of immense happiness that this conference is being held in India, including in Bodh Gaya.”
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had put posters in town to greet PM Modi on Friday.